Republicans Confident After Convention

    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.  Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
    x
    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (l) and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.
    TAMPA — U.S. Republicans hope their national convention this week in Florida will give presidential candidate Mitt Romney a major boost in what is expected to be a closely fought election campaign between now and November 6.  

    Mother Nature threw the Republicans off-message at the start of their convention as Tropical Storm Isaac made its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

    But the convention mood improved as the week went on, says Florida Congressman Dennis Ross.

    "We started off Monday canceling the convention," said Ross. "We watched what happened and as the weather gets better the convention gets better, so I think we are going to see some momentum leaving here and we will ride a wave in the next 68 days and have a new president come November."

    Unlike the past when U.S. party conventions actually chose presidential candidates, the modern convention aims to present the presidential nominee to a national audience and lay out the key themes of his campaign message.

    That's especially important this year for Mitt Romney.  Mr. Romney is seen as less likeable than his opponent after months of attack ads, first from his conservative rivals in the Republican primaries and later from President Barack Obama's Democratic Party.

    It was clear talking to delegates in Tampa that many Republicans still are motivated more by the goal of defeating Mr. Obama than by any love for Mr. Romney as a conservative leader.

    Mark Shields is a syndicated columnist and a political analyst on the Newshour program on the Public Broadcasting System.

    "The organizing principle of the Republican Party in 2012 is to defeat Barack Obama," said Shields. "It isn't necessarily adulation or an emotional connection with Mitt Romney."

    Party leaders say they are confident their convention helped to build party unity, even if some delegates remain less than enthusiastic about Mr. Romney.

    Senator Jon Kyl is a veteran Republican from Arizona.

    "Look, he's not Ronald Reagan," said Kyl. "Who else is?  He does have the party unified.  He brings a lot of strengths to the top of the ticket.  And most of all, he will be seen as a person who is a very good man who has a great capability to fix what's wrong, and boy does this country need somebody like that now who understands what it takes.”

    Some of those strains may have been eased when Mr. Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, says conservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock.

    "Romney has been all over the board on some issues," said Hedgecock. "Right now his platform is fantastic from a conservative point of view.  And Paul Ryan as a [vice presidential] selection, which is the first decision that the nominee Mitt Romney made, is a terrific decision, which has excited the conservative base a lot."

    A familiar voice in that conservative base is commentator Ann Coulter.  She is warning Republicans to brace themselves for a fresh wave of attacks from Democrats.

    "That is the only way they campaign against us by trying to make our candidates look stupid or scary, and you cannot make Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan look stupid or scary," said Coulter.

    But analyst Mark Shields says Mr. Romney will need to find a way to connect with voters in a more personal way if he hopes to win the White House in November.

    "We know that the failures of presidents over the past half century have been failures not of intellect, not of experience, but failures of personality or character," he said. "Personality in the case of Jimmy Carter, I think it's fair to say.  Character certainly in the case of Richard Nixon.  So they want somebody they are comfortable with.  They want to be sure and they want to be sure especially in 2012 that this is somebody who understands what I'm going through."

    The Democrats get their turn beginning Monday when they gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their convention to nominate President Obama for a second four-year term.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora